A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Donald Trump is liable for defaming E. Jean Carroll in 2019 and owes her monetary damages, which will be set at a later trial.
Trump was unanimously found liable in May for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. She had a second defamation lawsuit against him for comments that he made in 2019 that was originally set to go to trial in January.
Judge Lewis Kaplan, who also presided over her first lawsuit, issued a partial summary ruling Wednesday in Carroll’s favor, noting that Trump was already found to have defamed her.
“The truth or falsity of Mr Trump’s 2019 statements therefore depends—like the truth or falsity of his 2022 statement—on whether Ms Carroll lied about Mr Trump sexually assaulting her,” Kaplan said. “The jury’s finding that she did not therefore is binding in this case and precludes Mr Trump from contesting the falsity of his 2019 statements.”
Kaplan said that the January trial will simply be to set the amount of monetary damages Trump owes Carroll. The judge also denied Trump’s request to cap any future damages, meaning that the previous amount awarded should not be a factor the jury considers. Trump already owes Carroll $5 million from the first trial, and she is seeking $10 million this time around.
Carroll accused Trump in her 2019 memoir of raping her in the Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. She initially sued him twice for defamation: first in 2019, when he said she made up the rape allegation to promote her book, and again in November for posts he made about her on social media. Carroll is not the only woman to accuse Trump of sexual assault, but her first case was the first to make it to a courtroom.
Trump continues to vehemently deny all of the allegations and launched fresh vitriol at Carroll during the disastrous CNN town hall earlier this year. She amended her second lawsuit to include those comments.
Trump has tried repeatedly to wiggle out of paying Carroll what he owes her and of going to trial a second time. He even countersued her for defamation. But his efforts have been thwarted at every turn.
Kaplan has repeatedly tossed out Trump’s requests, slamming the arguments as “entirely unpersuasive” and noting that Carroll’s accusations that Trump raped her—not just sexually abused her—are “substantially true.” Trump also suffered a major blow in July when the Department of Justice said it no longer considers him immune in the case.